Turkey to cooperate with Libyan national oil company on oil, gas

Turkey is evaluating opportunities to cooperate with Libya for oil and natural gas exploration as the country aims to lower energy imports, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Sunday.

The country’s energy imports cost $40 billion annually, Dönmez said.

“We are planning to conduct our efforts there together with the Libyan national oil company,” Anadolu cited the minister as saying. “There could be international oil companies that we could act together with in the meantime, time will tell.”

Turkey plans to get into partnerships in oil fields in a win-win scenario, as the war-torn North African country’s natural resources are “there for the welfare and development of the Libyan people,” he said.

Cooperation between two countries have expanded since last year when they signed a maritime deal to redefine their territorial waters, making them neighbours over the Mediterranean in November, followed by a military deal where Turkey sent military equipment and expert personnel to the U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in support of its fight against the Libyan National Army (LNA).

Turkish construction companies are also planning to take on infrastructure and superstructure projects in Libya, while they have also taken on energy projects in the past. Turkish contract work in Libya amounts to a total of $16 billion, including some $400 million in projects that have not started yet.

Turkey’s national oil company Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) applied for gas exploration permits in May for sites within the country’s now-redefined territorial waters, leading to heightened tensions with Cyprus and Greece over violations of internationally-recognised exclusive economic zones.

The minister also said Turkey was exploring its own renewable resources for electricity production, with 62 percent of power produced in the country coming from renewable sources in 2019.

“There is oil in (Turkey’s) southeast, but we are talking about a type of oil that is heavy and trapped,” Dönmez said. The country has successfully tested the fracking method in the Kurdish-majority southeastern Diyarbakır province, and recently started production, he said.

There are plans to implement fracking in Turkey’s oil fields in the southeastern provinces of Batman and Adıyaman as well, and tests continue in the westernmost Thrace region, according to the minister.